RACHAEL YAMAGATA at the Mod Club (722 College), Friday (December 12), 7:30 pm. $13.50. ticketmaster.ca.
Despite impressive sales figures for Beyoncé's latest double offering, the split-personality concept record is rarely advisable. Rachael Yamagata's new Elephants... Teeth Sinking Into Heart falls into that two-sided category, with Elephant a brooding piano-based collection of melancholia, the flipside of Teeth's charging rock persona.
That duality wasn't intentional. The songs just went in two different directions, so breaking the album up seemed logical.
"It worked to split it because musically the two sounds started diverging so much, I didn't want to intervene on one side by interjecting some crazy rock song in the midst of Elephant," says Yamagata from her Philly apartment.
"Everyone has a wide spectrum of emotions. Am I internal, introspective and heartbroken at some points? Yes. But I have a sense of humour and I like sassiness, and those came out in the rock songs. So it's not two parts of me, just the same me going through these two different levels of emotion."
You might assume that Teeth gets more action live, allowing Yamagata to step away from the piano and heartbreak to rock out with the audience. Not the case, she explains, since drawing listeners into a ballad feels more rewarding for the lush-voiced singer.
"There's a really deep intensity and magic that comes when you pull off a ballad," she says.
"That feeling is more exciting to me because it's harder to get. It's not easy to quiet down a room of 1,000 people and have them listen to every word. With the rock songs, no one can compete, because we have amps and we don't hear you."
Tackling the rock side of her new double album - Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart.
On creating a stage alter-ego.